What You Need to Know About Hemodialysis

Hemodialysis is a treatment for kidney damage that has resulted in kidney failure, which is anything that is so advanced that only less than 15% of the kidney is working normally. Chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury will require hemodialysis to remove waste from the blood such as urea, eliminate extra fluid from the body, and restore the proper balance of blood electrolytes.


You need hemodialysis…

When your kidney no longer removes the amount of waste and fluids to keep your body healthy. As previously mentioned, a kidney that functions at less than 15% is in need of hemodialysis.


There are cases, however, when symptoms, such as fatigue, swelling, nausea, and vomiting, don’t manifest despite high levels of waste in your blood. This is why it’s best to consult with your doctor to determine whether you should start dialysis or not. Don’t wait for your kidney to reach less than 15% functionality before you see a doctor.


How hemodialysis works  

It uses a dialysis machine and an artificial kidney or a dialyzer to clean your blood. Along with it are other tools to make the entire procedure work.


  • Hemodialysis Machine

In a dialysis center, the hemodialysis machine is the size of a microwave. But those used in-home are small enough to be placed at the end of a table. Its job is to pump blood and then regulate its flow through the dialyzer. It also monitors blood pressure and controls the rate that fluid is removed from the body.


  • Artificial Kidney

The dialyzer or the artificial kidney is where blood enters and is then forced into very thin hollow fibers made of semi permeable membrane. On the outside of the fibers, a dialysis solution passes in the opposite direction. By the time the blood goes to the blood outlet, waste products have been diffused and the blood cleared of toxins.


  • Dialysis Solution

Also known as dialysate, it contains added substances and water that enable the safe removal of waste, body fluids, and salt.  There are different dialysis solutions for different treatments, which your doctor will prescribe.


Hemodialysis also uses two needles – one for drawing blood and another for returning filtered blood.


Hemodialysis Treatment Period

Your doctor will prescribe how much treatment you need for your particular case. But, on average, hemodialysis is done three times per week for four hours each time. When treatment is done at home, however, it is usually done more frequently but in shorter amounts of time.


It is important that you get the right amount of dialysis to improve your overall health. Studies show that the appropriate treatment period will help you live longer and stay out of the hospital as much as possible.


Hemodialysis as a Cure for Kidney Disease

This is true in cases of acute or sudden kidney failure. Under the circumstances, dialysis is only needed for a short amount of time to restore the kidney. But if you have a chronic kidney disease that becomes kidney failure as time progresses, hemodialysis could be necessary for the rest of your life. But it could stop when you receive a kidney transplant.


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